Monday, October 25, 2010

Sin Nombre (2008)

Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga makes his feature directorial debut with this epic dramatic thriller following a Honduran teenager who reunites with her long-estranged father and attempts to emigrate to America with him in order to start a new life. Inspired by the director's firsthand experience with Central American immigrants, Sin Nombre opens to find dejected teenager Sayra (Paulina Gaitan) biding her time in Honduras while dreaming of a brighter future. Upon reuniting with the father she hasn't seen in years, Sayra seizes the opportunity to finally make her dreams a reality. Her father has a new family in the United States, and he's preparing to travel with her uncle to Mexico, where they will then cross the border to freedom. Meanwhile, in Mexico, Tapachula teen Casper (aka Casper, played by Edgar Flores), has gotten caught up with the notorious Mara Salvatrucha street gang. He's just delivered a new recruit to the Maras in the form of desperate 12-year-old Smiley (Kristyan Ferrer), and though the youngster's initiation proves particularly rough, she adapts to gang life rather quickly. As involved as Casper is with the Mara, he does his best to keep his relationship with girlfriend Martha Marlene (Diana Garcia) a secret from the gang. Just as Martha encounters ruthless Mara leader Lil' Mago (Tenoch Huerta Mejía) and suffers a grim fate at the hands of the gang, Sayra and her relatives arrive at the Tapachula train yards and prepare to rush a U.S.-bound freight train with a horde of other immigrants. Rather than attempting to gain access to the cars, Sayra and the rest of the immigrants decide to ride atop the train. Little do they realize that their lives are now in danger, because Lil' Mago has recruited Casper and Smiley to rob the immigrants as they make their way to the United States. When dawn comes and Lil' Mago makes his move, Casper finally decides to stand up to the tyrannical gang leader. Now, as the train winds though the Mexican countryside, Sayra's only hope of surviving the journey and making her way to a new beginning is to align herself with Casper as he flees from the most feared gang in Tapachula. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Sin Nombre (2008)

It was an excellent film. Found no reason to fault it even with a tragic ending, which was foretold already in the film. Character development was quite good and although it was strange even for me to see a Spanish young girl to show such attention and affection toward Casper, it worked for me. She was hesitant but also desiring to find someone to help and be helped by. During the film Sayra shown distance from her estranged father and uncle. She said that her father would not have come back for her except that he was deported back to Honduras.

The only aspect that was strange was that Casper did not save at least the gun the gang leader had on himself after killing the gang leader. In one deleted scene he also dismantles Smiley's one bullet pump action gun into the river from atop the train. I knew that it had to come down to a life and death between Casper and Smiley, but the suspense might have been more if Casper had a gun also.

In addition to about 10 minutes of finished production deleted scenes, the DVD contained directors commentator. The director pointed out some important points about how the gang was like a collective in the sense of a commune where everyone shared the resources of the gang-that included the woman-which Casper did not abide with respect to his girlfriend.

Sin Nombre (2009 film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia mentions the fact that the last bit of memory of Casper's girlfriend and one of his only assets he gives to the man to help Sayra across the river. Thus sacrificing everything he had to help her get to the USA.

It might be an interesting film to see how Sayra's life is like in the USA.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Stupidity (2003)

Take a closer look at the "dumbing down" of contemporary culture in an alternately enlightening and hilarious documentary from filmmaker Albert Nerenberg produced to explore the prospect that willful ignorance has increasingly become a strategy for success in the realms of politics and entertainment. From the Internet to television to popular film and virtually everything in between, stupidity's stronghold over society has reached an all-time high. Despite the vast potential that mass media holds as a tool of education and self-betterment in modern society, why is it that the masses are so determined to simply turn on the television and turn off their brains at the end of the day? In an era where even the mere mention that mass media may be detrimental to our mental development may prove offensive to the vast majority of consumers, director Nerenberg gathers some of the best-known cultural critics, authors, and academics of our generation for a thought-provoking exploration into the potentially damaging effects of film, television, and other forms of media on the modern mind. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 77 mins
Stupidity (2003)
Maybe a little harsh to rate this a one, but it was simply a leftist dogma propagandized film. It started out fairly normal but for a Canadian produced film, it decided to pick on George W. Bush. Of course Bush was not the brightest bulb in the box, but if that was their case study of stupidity then plenty of Libs have their share of stupid politicians.

Bias then shows through on who they choose to interview like Bill Maher and Noam Chomsky. The later blaming all the "stupidity" of society on "business". Their goals is to control the masses and "dumb them down" and create a feeling of futility of the masses. Of course not themselves according to Chumsky. He also says that humans did not "create" language but it was just a random event of evolution which is on the same level of growing arms and legs. I am not sure how someone so intelligent to think that. Humans could have not developed this skills and just treated it like a useless appendage or developed it in much different ways.

Of course by showing "stupidity" in all its glory, they are in fact promoting such stupidity. It is not really an intellectual endeavor to explore the issues but is gratuitous stupidity presented as pseudo intellectualism. It allows the elite intellectuals to consider the unwashed masses as stupid. They even seem to question the aspects of democracy. That is allowing the unwashed masses to make decisions over government.

The one interesting point that was pointed out was that many of the actors on screen do not have a good education and in fact many dropped out of high school. Makes us wonder why we as a culture would in fact consider them as someone worth listening to. The next time I have to listen to some actor telling me how to live my life, I truly will look up his/her education background. Not that it validates that he/she is an idiot, just that it shows that maybe he/she was easily swayed and manipulated in his knowledge.

Marx felt that the three forces of the development of society {"world historical determining forces"} as: 1. Capital, 2. Violence, 3. Stupidity.

Special Features:
1. Extended interviews of the commentators.
2. Directors comments soundtrack.
3. Interview of director on Documentary Channel.
4. Trailer.
5. Reading materials used in the documentary-research.

On second thought, the extended interviews makes this at least a 2.